Bengaluru Buzz: COVID cases dipping | Special drive to fine jaywalkers

As COVID cases in Bengaluru show a dip, reopening of childcare centres has been recommended. Read more in our weekly news roundup.

COVID cases dipping 

Bengaluru continues to report a dip in COVID cases. On January 26th, the State Health Department reported 38,083 fresh cases, of which 17,717 were in Bengaluru. The city had 1,89,853 active cases, and test positivity rate of around 22% on the day.

Health minister K Sudhakar said 185 new Omicron cases have been confirmed in Bengaluru, taking the tally of the variant in the State to 1,115.

BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta directed officials to control the spread of infection in areas with higher numbers of cases. “Case trend over the past week across all the eight zones has been reviewed, and it was noticed that there is about 30% reduction in day-on-day case numbers across all zones,” said Gupta, who is currently under home isolation after testing positive.

Source: The Indian Express

Read more: Is Omicron really ‘mild’? Hear from the doctor who first spotted it

SSLC exam from March 28

The Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) has released the timetable for SSLC or Class 10 exams on its official website The exams will begin on March 28th and will continue till April 11th.

According to the schedule, the examination for the first language will be held on March 28th, second language on March 30th, core subjects on April 1st, 4th, 6th and 11th, and that for third language on April 8th.

Source: | The Quint

TAC recommends opening of child care centres

Karnataka’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended that the state government reopen childcare centres or ‘Shishupalana Kendras’ in Bengaluru. The move was proposed at a meeting on January 24th, during which committee members discussed daily fresh infections, hospitalisation and fatality rates. 

A closed preschool and daycare facility in Bengaluru
Many preschools and day care centres have remained closed since COVID. Pic courtesy: Jyotsna Arun

“Reopening of childcare centres will help working women,” the TAC said. But the child has to be asymptomatic and the parents must have taken both doses of the vaccine. COVID positivity rate among children in Bengaluru is presently 10%, and paediatric admissions is only 2%.

TAC members also discussed the challenges of reopening schools for classes 1-9 in Bengaluru, and decided to review the matter again after a week, though educationists and school managements have been demanding that schools be reopened immediately. 

Source: Times of India

Govt launches ‘Brain Health Initiative’

Karnataka has launched ‘Brain Health Initiative’, the first-of-its-kind in the country, undertaken by NIMHANS in association with NITI Aayog. Under this programme, doctors – including general physicians – will be trained in screening and treating mental health problems in patients. The initiative is being rolled out in Bengaluru, Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts on pilot basis. 

“Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, the government in association with NIMHANS has been helping people cope with mental health issues,” said Health Minister K Sudhakar. “We have conducted thousands of mental health counselling sessions with COVID-19-infected persons and their families”. More doctors need to be trained in mental healthcare, since mental health issues impact people’s day-to-day lives and quality of life, he added.

Source: Economic Times

Read more: How to cope with mental health fallout from COVID

Jaywalkers to be fined

Bengaluru Traffic Police has launched a special drive to create awareness on the dangers of jaywalking, which they said accounts for 70% of road accident deaths. To raise awareness among pedestrians, police will conduct drives at specific locations, and violators will be fined Rs 10.

However, citizens and activists are up in arms over this drive, arguing that they have no choice but to walk on roads due to poor pedestrian facilities. A recent survey of just five wards by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy had found pedestrian facilities to be dismal.

B R Ravikanthe Gowda, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said, “Officials, who conducted a survey, prepared a list of 240 locations where high-rise pedestrian crossings can be built, and BBMP agreed to construct 50 on a priority basis.”

Source: The Hindu

Rush for guest lecturer posts

Karnataka Higher Education Department has been flooded with over 60,000 applicants for 10,636 posts of guest lecturers. Online counselling for the appointment of guest lecturers for the 2021-22 academic year began on January 27. Only guest faculty members who have served in government colleges in the past will be considered, the department announced. “Based on their seniority, candidates can choose their preferred college during counselling,” P Pradeep, Commissioner, Department of Collegiate and Technical Education, said.

While 7,225 will be appointed with a full workload (15 hours/week), 3,411 will have partial workload. The maximum number of posts are in Commerce, followed by Kannada and Computer Science. Department officials believe the high number of applications is due to the government’s recent decision to increase the honorarium of guest lecturers. Government’s decision had come in the wake of a strike by guest lecturers demanding better pay and job security.

Source: The Hindu | Deccan Herald | Times of India

[Compiled by T R Gopalakrishnan]

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